Things are tough enough when you’re a teenager without World War III breaking out. But that’s what 15-year-old American Daisy (Ronan) has to cope with after she is reluctantly shipped off to relatives in the English countryside – moments after she has softened to the idyllic landscape (and her hunky eldest cousin Edmond), the army show up to evacuate everyone after a nuclear attack cripples communications and destroys the power supply.
Based on the young adult novel by Meg Rosoff, this is almost two completely different movies spliced together – the first half a sun-tinted romance with Edmond (George MacKay) that involves sex in a barn, and the second a grittier story of survival as they are separated by soldiers, with Edmond and his brother sent to a training camp while Daisy and her young cousin Piper (Harley Bird) are sent to work picking potatoes. Of course, it’s not long before Daisy is bored of spuds and decides they should reunite with Piper’s brothers, leading to an often harrowing trek back home in the hope of finding her true love there.
While adults will find some of the plot familiar and cliched – the last section is a bit like a modern day Cold Mountain, while the post-invasion part may remind you of Red Dawn – this is nicely filmed and terrifically played, most notably by Bird and especially Ronan, who draws you into the story and grips you until the very end with her mesmerising performance.
Is How I Live Now suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 15 certificate film and is not suitable for younger viewers. There are some scary scenes involving the soldiers, the threat of rape, and dead bodies are shown.
There is also a (non explicit) love scene.